Punk + Rap = Awesome: Waxgordon and Cold Men Young mash styles and melt faces

May 2, 2011 at 7:54 am

Blowout may be over and done with, but for two of the bands that played during the Thursday night line-up, it’s far from forgotten. Waxgordon - four big bald punk rockin’ dudes and Cold Men Young - four fast-as-lightning hip-hop mavens were the two stand outs for me that night, and I indicated in my Music Blahg recap of the night. I specifically said, “I want to see (Cold Men Young) on a bill with Waxgordon. All bands should do what I want.” Lo and behold, After reading my post and connecting with each other via Twitter , the bands ARE doing what I want. May 7th at Small’s the world will have the opportunity to see a hardcore/hip-hop mash up like no other. Waxgordon will also be releasing their new song, “Pour It On Paper” which features a jaw-droppingly rad guest spot by Cold Men Young’s Microphone Phelps aka Young Phenom. The track sounds like Fugazi after a week long energy drink binge with a melted hip-hop center. I talked to Waxgordon frontman Pete Koneda, Cold Men Young’s Microphone Phelps and “Pour It On Paper” producer Mike Chav (Erykah Badu, D12, Eminem) about the whole experience.

Metro Times: Had Waxgordon and Cold Men Young been familiar with each other before the MT Blowout?

Microphone Phelps AKA Young Phenom: No. We heard about Waxgordon through your Thursday night Blowout write up on the Metro Times Music Blahg, def glad we did hear about them though.

Pete Koneda: I had seen the name around and I knew that they were a rap act from Detroit, but that was the extent of it for me. I did see that they were playing the Blowout and that there was a quite a buzz about their performance which made me curious, but since we were playing the same night and our set times were pretty much butted right up against each other at different venues, I didn't get a chance to check them out. But, after I heard how they killed it, I was in full investigation mode and found out what that buzz was all about. They ain't no joke.

MT: Do the guys in Waxgordon listen to a lot of hip-hop?

Pete: Actually, I listen to a lot of hip-hop. Big fan from way back from the first time I heard ‘Rappers Delight’ by Sugar Hill Gang as a little kid. Our drummer Dave (Melkonian) is also a huge fan of rap. Lumpy and Mark, not as much. I know they dig it and appreciate it, but I don’t ever hear them pulling up to rehearsal rockin' Birdman or Gucci Mane.

MT: What about Cold Men Young - do you guys listen to much punk?

Microphone Phelps: No, we don't USUALLY listen to punk rock.  However I have been to a few punk rock concerts and have heard some punk rock albums, and they've been dope!

Mike Chav: I listen to a fair amount of everything that I deem "good.” I don’t get caught up in technicalities of genres and sounds. Music is more about energy to me. If I resonate with it than I'll listen to it. I work on a lot of hip-hop, but I'm not easily impressed. Jay Electronica is the benchmark for me right now. When I started getting into music at seven or eight, I listened to early hip-hop. I started playing guitar at 13 and began to gravitate more towards the indie/punk/metal worlds. I still listen to Fugazi and Sonic Youth pretty regularly.

MT: Tell me about recording the song “Pour It On Paper” - how did that go? Did it feel natural, was it a challenge, etc?

Microphone Phelps: The song felt really natural. When I heard the track, I knew it was a certified "banger.” Finally getting to lay it down with the Waxgordon guys was great. Our energies matched up and we seemed to all just fit right into the puzzle of what we were supposed to do. It was a classic case of Jack The Ripper (inside joke)!

Pete: We actually had “Pour It On Paper” written a few months back. What’s funny is that when I wrote the lyrics, I thought "Wow, these sound like rap lyrics!" When the show started to come together, we thought that a Waxgordon/Cold Men Young collaboration would be a great addition to throw in on the package. After bouncing around ideas, Blaksmith from CMY had the idea of one of them jumping in on our track. He said Mic Phelps aka Young Phenom was the one for the job. When he came over and recorded his verse I about shit myself. Not only is he talented as hell, but the attitude and statement of what he laid down fit the song like a glove. It all just fell together effortlessly. We are really crazy excited about this track, it’s on a different level from anything we've done before. Then to have Mike Chavarria on the production end of it, the level of excitement is off the charts. Chavs talents are like a super-deluxe cherry on top. We hope everyone else digs it as much as we do.

Mike: Dave from Waxgordon brought me the song to mix and I didn't know what to expect. I was definitely hit by the energy of this song particularly the vocals. When the song gets to the rhyme it elevates the song even further. I've never heard a collab quite like this so it was a pleasant surprise. I've always held the opinion that punk and hardcore share a similar vibration as "real" hip-hop and this song is just one more piece of evidence to that theory.

MT: Are people going to totally forget about that whole Public Enemy/Anthrax thing after they hear you guys together?

Microphone Phelps: This song will make people have amnesia, so they will forget everything. How to tie their shoes, ride a bike, and listen to any other music other than Waxgordon and Cold Men Young!

Pete: Not to knock Anthrax or Public Enemy in any way, but this thing feels different. Its a different vibe, a different time. Despite the difference in genres, Cold Men Young and Waxgordon approach things in the exact same way. It’s all about the energy. All about the live show. All about giving the people every last drop of everything we have and leaving it laying on the stage in a broken pile of smoldering rubble. I'm not trying to tell a crafty story, I'm pulling my heart out of my chest and pouring it out into your ears through a microphone. Its the truth. My goal is to have you leave the show exhausted, satisfied, feeling like you ran a marathon and are too tired for Taco Bell. The crowd is just as big a part of the show as we are, if not bigger.  I know Cold Men Young will agree with that. Bet on it.

The new single "Pour It On Paper" drops May 7th. See them bring it to life that night at Small's in Hamtramck.